Major earthquakes (6.4 and 7.1) hit southern California over the 4th of July and ensuing weekend. Shock waves were felt as far away as Las Vegas and Phoenix. (No, I didn’t personally feel them, but there is local video evidence of pools splashing about and light fixtures swinging.) After shocks are expected to last for months.
Following the quakes, two questions have arisen:
- Is this a sign of end times?
- Is this God’s judgment on Hollywood?
As for signs of the end times, Jesus spoke specifically of earthquakes to occur in end times (Matthew 24:7). However, as Americans, I think we may be inclined to “see with blinders on,” and think that because it is happening in America, it must have some greater significance. Earthquakes are increasing in number and intensity all over the world, so it doesn’t seem to make sense that there is any greater significance to the recent Southern California earthquakes than any other.
Regarding God’s judgment on Hollywood, I have seen and heard plenty of “conservative rants” about it being just that. While I agree Hollywood gushes immoral and ungodly content constantly, and many Hollywood personalities seem to be obsessed with driving God and every spiritual element of Christianity out, I prefer to view it in a slightly different way.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded us our Father in heaven sends both sunshine and rain upon the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). I think of faithful men of God who are pastoring God-honoring churches in Southern California. I’m sure many of them and their members suffered damage from those earthquakes. So what are we to make of that if God’s motive was to punish Hollywood?
Rather, I think we can view natural disasters such as earthquakes with a slightly different perspective. Indeed, God sent a worldwide flood to judge the world in Noah’s day, so we can’t deny that God uses all power at His disposal (including weather) to judge. But let’s consider the root of God’s judgment.
God hates sin because He is holy. He will ultimately judge all sin. Thus, the immorality and godlessness that pours out of Hollywood will indeed be judged. But, what about our own sin? The Bible says we all sin (Romans 3:23), and the wages of sin….any sin…is death (Romans 6:23), so none of us is above reproach. This is not simply a Hollywood problem.
The beauty, though, is this: While God hates sin, He loves the sinner. In fact, it was for the sinner (every one of us!) that His Son, Jesus, died! (Romans 5:8) In doing so, He paid the penalty for every sinner (2 Corinthians 5:21), so that we might have eternal life! (John 3:16) It is the sin God hates, and the sinner He saves!
Thus, here is my take on earthquakes and other natural disasters that occur every day around the world: Each is a wake up call! It is a Father calling out to His wayward children to get right with Him because holiness will not co-exist with sin! Dear Christians, that wake up call is to us! Why do we think Hollywood is going to hear our Father? It is the Good Shepherd’s sheep that hear the Good Shepherd’s voice! (John 10)
Personally, I think our Shepherd (Jesus) wants the attention of His sheep (believers). He is reminding us in these last days, our hope is not in Hollywood, in politicians or political parties, in sports heroes and their endorsement deals, in our jobs or in any other worldly thing. Our hope is in revival that comes only in the Blessed Hope. If America is to experience revival, we as believers must lay aside our reliance upon and our obsession with those worldly things, and fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).
When we do that, earthly things will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace!
UPDATE: After this post was written, but before it was posted, a 7.0 earthquake hit Indonesia. As you see, it was much more devastating than the Southern California quakes. These are birth pangs Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:7-8, and evidence of our need to look to Jesus.